Rural Inequalities and Demographic Response in Botswana: Evidence from Survey Data
Differential access to agricultural assets such as land and cattle has been demonstrated to influence both social and demographic spheres of life of individuals in Botswana. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of agricultural assets, namely, land and cattle ownership, on fertility and migration. This study used data from a sample of individuals living in rural communities with population of less than 5000 as per the 1991 census. The country was divided into five regions from which 1500 households were randomly selected. The response rate was 94%. The study results were based on multivariate logistic regression analysis to investigate whether there was an association between agricultural assets and the two demographic variables, namely, fertility and migration. The results showed that although not statistically significant, the average number of children ever borne per woman tended to be smaller for women from households with small land holdings compared to those from medium and large land holdings. Results from logistic regression analysis showed that there was no statistically significant relationship between landholding and fertility or migration. However, households owning cattle portrayed higher fertility and higher propensity for migration than households with no cattle ownership and these relationships were statistically significant at 10% level. Empirical evidence showed that there was no evidence to support the assertion that agricultural assets influence fertility or migration except cattle ownership. One can conclude that cattle ownership is the key determinant of demographic behaviour in rural Botswana.
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